YAHOO FINANCE: Corinthian school closings leave instructors with many questions, few answers

Career College Central Summary:

  • When embattled Corinthian Colleges announced it would be shuttering its remaining 28 campuses in April, students weren’t the only ones left feeling shell shocked.  
  • Roughly 4,000 instructors and staff found themselves out of work and facing a shrinking job market in their field. The closure impacted workers at 13 Everest and WyoTech campuses, as well as the entirety of Heald College, a 150-year-old institution with 11 campuses in California and Hawaii. Corinthian filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early May and it was recently announced that an official committee will be formed to represent the interests of former students. Meanwhile, former instructors who worked at Corinthian-owned schools told Yahoo Finance they were left with many questions and even fewer answers.
  • “It was was obvious that they were under attack, we all knew about [the government investigation],” said Edgar de Sola, who was an adjunct instructor in the medical assistant program at both Heald and Everest Institute in San Francisco. “But when they let us start the new quarter in April, I thought we were going to at least go to the end of the quarter.”
  • The Monday after de Sola and his colleagues were informed, by email, of the school’s closure, they returned to campus one last time to pack up their belongings. Someone snapped a photo (above) of their group, some of whom still donned Heald College staff badges.
  • “They were nice, truly dedicated teachers. That’s why it’s so sad,” de Sola said. “All these teachers were so dedicated with really low pay, in my opinion, and we had done the work diligently.”
  • Forty-five minutes south of San Francisco, Melody Valente taught at Heald’s Hayward, Calif., campus for two years in the pharmacy tech department. She said that even when it became clear that Corinthian was having trouble finding a buyer for Heald’s campuses — Corinthian only managed to successfully sell about half of its 100 campuses — she and her colleagues were encouraged to stay the course. Heald President Eeva Deshon, who did not respond to a request for comment, went so far as to launch an online petition to drum up support from the public. In the end, it became more than apparent why buyers weren’t interested —  two weeks before Corinthian shut them down, federal regulators fined Heald College $30 million for allegedly falsifying job placement rates for years. On top of that, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, whose office filed a complaint against Corinthian first in October 2013, would have required any potential buyer to assume liability for loans taking out by  former students. 
  • “Even that last Wednesday I taught, I was reassuring our students that it would be OK, Heald was not going anywhere and we would have a great quarter,” Valente says. “I feel as if we let the students down somehow.”

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